Out of the Shallows

He called me shallow. Instead of rolling my eyes and ignoring him, I’ve tried to understand what he means. Among other things, I think it means that the work I need to do is going to be more below the surface. It means that my normal cleverness and logic will not be of much use.

It’s one of those things where we both know what it takes to get better, but there’s a large gap between knowing and doing. It’s like trying to float down a river, but your hull keeps getting stuck on things you can’t see. How do you solve that? Get down in the water and guide the boat while taking a chance with the river’s inhabitants? Dredge the river? Watch the water intently and try to decipher the subtle language of ripples and currents? Some of all three probably. ¬†However it happens, you have to resign yourself to the idea that progress will not be as fast or as easy as it looks from above.

I’ve done shadow work before. I have a pretty good idea of what’s hiding in this particular river. I’m even pretty good at swimming. I’m used to the unnerving screech of submerged branches against the hull. I cringe, reposition my weight, and keep going, while hoping that the scratches weren’t too bad this time. All in a day’s work, right?

Every obstacle we get past is one less in the way. With that attitude I can almost look forward to them. That doesn’t mean that getting over one sand bar means sandbars are defeated forever. I guarantee there will be more. But that one, on that day, is over.

But there is more to this than defeating the negatives. The more water there is, the easier it is to navigate. We’re less likely to get stuck on every little thing. We pray for rain. We try to keep the boat in good shape. We practice and build up our skills. We look at the map and take note of what progress has been made. We learn to appreciate the river itself.

He told me to cut my hair short. I used to associate putting my hair up with getting things done. Now it’s always up. He told me to build virtual homes and landscapes. I always put gardens in. I don’t think it matters what it looks like or who sees it. Embedding the concept of building in my subconscious is what he’s after. Life, beauty, light and shadow. What do I create? What do I want? What do I need? How do I start over again? (We seem to be going for the benevolent mad wizard aesthetic.)

I managed to get Clifford off the cliff and into the boat. I have a feeling that if I can get him to reestablish his place in the Duat it will end up being both freaky and fun. Expect gardens, and fire, and water, and probably some bending of the laws of  physics.

Defending My Space (At Home)

March was one of those months where my life was full of one disruption after another. No single event was very big, but as soon as I tried to relax, something else would come up. I ended up sick with a lingering cough that still hasn’t completely gone away. My mother, who is a saint, booked me for three nights at a cabin in a small mountain town. While I was there, in addition to soaking up the quiet like a sponge, I appropriately read a book entitled “Quiet” by Susan Cain. (If you are an introvert, especially if you are wondering how the heck to maintain any sort of professional life without losing yourself, I highly recommend it.)

The book contrasted the way extroverts and introverts get along in the world, and the ways that introverts are pressured to be more outgoing. Sometimes it is necessary to suck it up to get your message out there for the sake of serving your passions, but once that is done, you really do absolutely NEED to stop and recharge. I’ve been neglecting the recharge part, and my living room is very similar to the much maligned open office plan that she talked about in the book. All our family computers are together in an open space. I did this deliberately, otherwise we might never see each other. It also helps us keep one eye on what the kid is doing online. The downside is that I am open to distraction nearly all day every day.

The result has been near constant fatigue and brain fog. If my mind works best as a still pond, then what happens when people keep throwing rocks in it, even if they are small rocks? What happens when the wind blows? The image distorts and it takes awhile to clear again. My level of stress also influences how long it takes for the ripples to clear. Stress can keep the disruption going much longer than it should. I’ve often joked that kids give their parents ADD. I have noticed that the number of books I’ve read after having a child has gone down dramatically, because I get interrupted so often. I also joke about how…and there it goes, right then….how as soon as I put my headphones on people start talking to me. Right now the kid is doing math, so I’m required to be available to help. What this means is that I will need to take time all to myself later in the day. That time is a requirement, not a luxury, if I don’t want to be a grouchy half-functional zombie.

That sounds pretty simple. I just need an hour of two of down time. In theory, that doesn’t seem so hard, but those hours that are mine and mine alone mean I have to tell my family that no, I’m not available at that time. My family is my job. It can be hard to say no without feeling bad about it. No, I don’t want to watch TV right now. No, I don’t want to go out. No, I’m not going to run to the grocery right now. No, I’m not going to go over there to look at the funny video/cat picture/movie trailer on your screen right now. No, it’s not my turn to let the dog out, or to go find out what trouble the animals are getting in to in the kitchen. It doesn’t help that my father was also an introvert, who needed alone time, and that my mother resented him for it.

I need to do it anyway. There are no more mountain getaways lined up in the foreseeable future. I can’t afford it by myself. I need to make sure that I don’t get to the point of needing one again. There are things I’ve wanted to do, but I haven’t had the brainspace to do them. I want to read more books. I want to make things with clay. I want to get at least one blog post out a week. I want to follow my inspiration, which means that I have to give it room to grow without stifling it.

I know, this is a Kemetic blog, and this seems to have nothing to do with Kemeticism. You could file it under living in ma’at, finding a balance. Actually this same theme has been playing out in my relationship with Ra, so I will put that in part two of this post.